The Atmosphere: Vito's is a refurbished old-world Seattle watering hole for power brokers and gangsters (of all>"/>
The Watering Hole: Vito's, 927 Ninth Avenue, 397-4053
The Atmosphere: Vito's is a refurbished old-world Seattle watering hole for power brokers and gangsters (of all sorts, it's been said). If Bruno Tattaglia had wanted to kill Luca Brasi in an underground bar--lured in with pre-war scotch-- in The Godfather, he would have picked Vito's (even if it's not technically underground, the windowless room feels that way). And that's just the attraction of the room: A classy cocktail bar that feels old-school and a bit retro, but not stogy or full of blue hairs. The mural in the back is also a draw. While I was bellied up at the bar this week, a gentleman wandered in just to see the nipples: "I just came in to check out the mural in the back," he told the host.
The Barkeep: Connor O'Brien has been drinking since he was 17, getting an early start on cans of Budweiser and cheap vodka on weekends. At 33, he's been drinking for nearly half his life, and his taste is booze has steadily climbed up-shelf.
O'Brien's been at Vito's since the Hideout crew re-opened it less than a month ago, and previously poured drinks at the Tin Table. He's already seeing familiar faces in multiple days a week, often from the surrounding neighborhood. Just this week a local came in and asked if they served Bud Light. They don't, therefore the man didn't have a drink. O'Brien can empathize: "Ultimately," he says, "I think people should just drink what they like."
The Drink: His drink of choice of late has been The Boulevardier, a French, bourbon-based cocktail that includes Bullet bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters. "You have to be used to drinking to enjoy it, I think," he says. "But it's not the scariest drink in the medicine cabinet."
The Verdict: Unless it's Canadian Hunter by the fifth, I'm not much of a brown-booze drinker, but I can get into this. Its thick, grumbling flavor is perfect for sipping slowly and setting a base for the evening. It's not too sweet or syrupy, and packs just enough bite to hold back the chugging. I'm sold.
BTW:When I'm not drinking Coors Light, I typically drink cold Tanqueray with a twist in a martini glass (I guess you could call that a martini), or an extra-tart gimlet that's just cold Aviation gin and freshly squeezed lime (it's impossible to call this without spelling it out). I explained this to O'Brien and asked him to cook me up a third gin option to stick in my rotation. He poured me a Frech 75 with Beefeater. I don't think I've ever had a Frenchy made this well. O'Brien's 2-for-2.
"I think it's the world's greatest brunch drink," O'Brien says.
No doubt, but can you make this by the pitcher?